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Renaissance art - the XVI century

In this century Italian art spread in Europe like never before, even if Italy’s political situation was disastrous. It was a century of devastating wars: the Protestant Reformation, the consequent reaction leading to the Counter reformation, loss of political balance. Italy became a battlefield where foreign armies fought. Despite all this Rome remained an important city for art and culture. In the XV century love for classical culture led to the first collections of antique pieces, especially in Florence. In the XVI century Rome was the city of collectors. Important families started collecting pieces of classical art, but the most important were the papal art collections (such as those belonging to Julius II and especially to Paolo III Farnese).
Many important artists, such as Raphael and Michelangelo and their disciples, worked in Rome. After the sack of Rome in 1527 they fled to various Italian courts, which benefited from their knowledge. The status of artists in this period changed considerably. In the middle ages artists were considered artisans and art was a manual art. Now painting, sculpture and architecture were given the same status of literature and poetry and were therefore considered liberal arts.